34 F. average high on March 6.
56 F. high temperature on March 6, 2016.
March 7, 1987: A heat wave across Minnesota brings the earliest 70 degree readings on record to the Twin Cities. The record high for the day was 73, breaking the old record by 13 degrees. Shorts were common and people were turning over dirt in their gardens for planting.
March 7, 1950: A snow and ice storm hits Minnesota. The heaviest ice was in northwest and west central Minnesota, especially in Norman County near Twin Valley. 52 electrical poles were down in this area with ice up to 1 ½ inches on wires. All communication lines out of Fargo were out with wind gusts estimated up to 60 mph. In order to provide temporary long distance service to and from isolated communities, short wave radio equipment was used to bridge the gaps. In Pipestone, several plate glass windows were blown in. During the snowstorm that followed later in the day, a Northwest Airlines plane crashed into three homes in Minneapolis killing all 13 on the plane and two on the ground. The left wing of the plane struck a flagpole at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery as it circled to land.
Fake Spring: Cold, Slushy Correction On The Way
What keeps me up at night? A Cat 5 hurricane hitting Miami. An EF-4 tornado striking Chicago at rush hour. A melting polar ice cap tipping point. Artificial intelligence making my job redundant.
Getting a diploma or even a college degree - and then thinking you're set for life, has gone the way of 8-track tapes, bell bottom jeans and the Bee Gees. By some estimates today's graduates will have 2-4 different CAREERS and 1-2 dozen jobs.
With automation, robotics and artificial intelligence rendering many jobs obsolete, how do we empower a nimble work force to retrain for new jobs that don't even exist yet? Digital disruption is speeding up - we need smart policies that put people first.
Winds may gust past 50 mph today - minor tree damage and power outages are possible as Canadian air returns. A series of Alberta Clippers arrive Saturday into Monday, capable of slushing up yards. But in March a high sun angle will quickly melt snow , unlike January.
Hope you didn't pack away your coat yet: temperatures may not top 30 F. this weekend. 'Siri' on my iPhone just warned me.
Here is what Doppler Radar was showing - and I was tweeting out Monday afternoon and evening:
Wild Winds. Models show a tight pressure gradient as we transition from late April and early May back to mid-February in the coming days, turning on sustained winds of 20-40 mph today, with gusts over 50 mph. 10-meter NAM wind forecast: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Volatile Pattern. We never just ease into spring. Winter departs kicking and screaming, but this year the transition to warmer, wetter weather, coupled with significant wind shear from a very active and persistent subtropical jet, may spark a disproportionate amount of severe weather. Everything I see suggests the most active and potentially destructive spring for severe storms and tornadoes since 2011-2012.
Winter is Not Coming. We Need Winter. There will be occasional "polar vortex" winters, but they will probably be the exception, not the rule, as the atmosphere continues to warm. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "...In nature, timing is everything. In a spring, flowers lend their nectar to bees, and bees pollinate those flowers. When flowers bloom too soon, however, they risk losing their petals and nectar before bees show up. Fewer bees mean less pollination, and so forth. But if both species resurface at the onset of spring, why would they fall out of sync? The answer is that they respond to different cues. Some plants, like Washington’s cherry trees, bloom after experiencing several warms days in a row. Others respond to sunlight, blossoming only after days grow longer. Pollinators — such as birds, bees, bats, and butterflies—have evolved to take advantage of these subtle, seasonal cues. In a normal year, these cues more or less line up as anticipated, leading the birds and the bees to discharge their vernal duties at roughly the appropriate time. But climate change is blurring the line between winter and spring — a phenomenon scientists call season creep — and many species of both flora and fauna are struggling to adapt..." File photo: A flower withers in a late-season frost."
Flood Claims Cost the U.S. Billions, but Congress Can Fix That. Isn't doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results the definition of insanity? TheHill has a must-read story; here's are a couple of snippets: "Major flood events are becoming the new normal. In 2016, there were four inland floods causing at least $1 billion in damages each, double the average number of nontropical storm-related floods since 1980. While the headlines around these events focus, understandably, on property damage and the impact on individuals and families, a big piece of the story — the escalating cost to the federal government — is often left untold...That means that some 15,000 homes and businesses in the U.S. are flooded so often, or so severely, that the ensuing repairs cost more than the property is worth. In Alabama, for example, a home valued at $153,000 has cost the NFIP $2.3 million in claims payments. Similarly, a Mississippi home valued at $69,900 has flooded 34 times in 32 years, costing the program $663,000. This imposes tremendous costs on taxpayers and the federal government, and the problem is only expected to get worse..." (File image: USGS).
GOES-16: 100x Increase in Data. Check out this backgrounder on the new (amazing) GOES-16 satellite from UCAR: "...But the advantages of GOES-16 also create new challenges. The satellite has three times as many spectral channels as its predecessors, each with four times more resolution. It can scan the entire Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes and simultaneously generate images of severe weather every 30-60 seconds. All this data will amount to about 1 terabyte per day, more than 100 times the amount of data produced by an existing GOES satellite. And even more data can be expected when NOAA launches additional advanced GOES satellites in coming years..."
Photo credit: "Perryville tornado damage in a neighborhood near Moore Drive off Hwy 61." (Source: Katie Kormann).
The High Toll of Costly Water: Who Will Pay for America's Quiet Water Crisis? Here's a clip from an eye-opening article at Fusion: "...Mack, along with research assistant Sarah Wrase, determined that if water rates increase at projected amounts over the next five years, the percentage of households that can’t pay their water bills could triple from 11.9% to more than a third. Nearly 14 million households nationwide already struggle to afford water services. An additional 27.18 million—or 8.5% of the country’s population—could soon face the same challenges. “I don’t think we think about this, about what it would mean to not have running water,” Mack told Fusion. Of course, some Americans have experienced it. Water affordability is becoming an increasingly critical issue in cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit. In Philadelphia, an estimated four out of 10 water accounts are past due. Atlanta and Seattle have some of the highest water rates in the country..." (Image credit: NOAA).
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Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player. The New York Times has the story; here's a clip: "...Seeking to shore up their struggling industry, the coal producers are voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to frame a new image for coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda. Executives of the three companies — Cloud Peak Energy, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — are going so far as to make common cause with some of their harshest critics, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force. Together, they are lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning. The technology they are promoting is carbon capture and sequestration — an expensive and, up to now, unwieldy method of trapping carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants before the gas can blanket the atmosphere and warm the planet..."
Photo credit: "Carbon capture equipment at NRG’s power generating station southwest of Houston." Michael Stravato for The New York Times.
Wind Power: A New Cash Crop for Minnesota Farmers. Here's an excerpt of an update from Wind On The Wires: "...Rural communities have much to gain from welcoming a wind project into their community. Wind development projects inject millions of dollars into the local economy. This happens in a few ways. First, developers strive to buy local goods and services whenever possible. They use local restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, hardware stores, service stations, building and construction supply companies, print shops, and other services as much as possible. This gives a real boost to local businesses. After construction, good-paying permanent jobs remain for service technicians and administrative personnel. Second, wind energy has become a new “cash crop” for many farmers and ranchers. U.S. wind farms now pay an estimated $245 million a year to farming families. At the end of 2015, AWEA reported that 70 percent of that revenue goes to landowners who live in counties with below average incomes, providing a welcome source of new income..."
TODAY: High Wind Watch. More clouds than sun. Winds gust past 50 mph. Winds: W 25-55. High: 47
TUESDAY NIGHT: Blustery - wailing winds top 45 mph. Low: 26
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and colder, still gusty. Winds: NW 20-35. High: 35
THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, still chilly. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 23. High: 36
FRIDAY: Cold breeze - peeks of sun. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 17. High: 29
SATURDAY: Clipper: slushy snowfall risk. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 19. High: near 30
SUNDAY: More light snow or flurries. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 22. High: 32
MONDAY: Another clipper. More slush? Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 24. High: 31
Map credit above: Twin Cities National Weather Service.
Arctic Ice Continues Its Astonishing Streak of Lows. What is going on in the Arctic? Here's an excerpt of an update from Climate Central: "Here’s your monthly reminder: something just isn’t right in the Arctic. February continued a string of record or near-record monthly sea ice lows. Warm weather ensured Arctic sea ice hit its lowest extent ever recorded for February. Sea ice covered 5.51 million square miles, which is 455,600 square miles below average or a chunk of missing sea ice four times the size of Italy. That just isn’t normal. Parts of the region averaged up to 9°F above normal, according to new data released by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In what’s been a recurring theme this winter in the Arctic, incursion after incursion of warm air has kept the region astonishingly mild for this time of year. That’s slowed sea ice growth to a crawl and even reversed it at times, resulting in the run of monthly lows..."
Graphic credit: "February sea ice has declined since the start of satellite observations, hitting a record low in 2017." Credit: NSIDC
Jobs Take Center Stage of Climate Change Debate in Trump Era. Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg: "...Many Republicans, including the president, have been unmoved by environmental or scientific arguments that federal policies should support clean energy as a way to combat global warming. They may be swayed by the 360,000 jobs provided by wind and solar in the U.S. last year, business executives and environmentalists said Friday at a climate-change conference in Chicago. Economics have long been at the center of arguments supporting wind and solar power. But as President Donald Trump pushes to boost fossil fuel production and cede U.S. leadership on fighting climate change, clean energy advocates are talking about employment more than ever. “There is nothing that matters more to politicians than jobs and ribbon cuttings,’’ Bob Keefe, executive director of the non-profit group Environmental Entrepreneurs, said during a speech at the event. “They need to hear from business people that this is driving growth...’’
Inside the Quest to Monitor Countries' CO2 Emissions. From commercial aircraft to satellites, we need cost-effective ways to measure greenhouse gas emissions. Here's a clip from Scientific American: "...While some space satellites can measure greenhouse gas emissions, they are expensive, depend on computer models and “have all kinds of biases” that make it difficult to reach the precision needed to accurately measure man-made emissions, explained NOAA’s Tans. NASA has recently selected a more sophisticated satellite for a launch in 2022, however, that offers some hope. It is called the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), and would hover 22,000 miles in space, rotating with a constant view of most of the Americas. It comes with a bargain basement price (for a satellite) of $166 million over the next five years, partly because it will hitchhike a ride into space sitting in an unused area of a payload carrying a commercial communications satellite..."
Image credit: "This is an artist’s concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The mission, scheduled to launch in early 2009, will be the first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide." Credit: NASA, JPL
100 Years Ago Alexander Graham Bell Warned Us About the "Greenhouse Effect". Here's a clip from ThinkProgress: "In a 1917 paper, Alexander Graham Bell wrote that the unrestricted burning of fossil fuels “would have a sort of greenhouse effect.” The man who invented the telephone four decades earlier added, “the net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house.” Bell was also concerned about the inevitable depletion of fossil fuels — “What shall we do when we have no more coal and oil?” So in a 1917 article for National Geographic Magazine, he urged the development of renewable ethanol fuel from agricultural waste, corn stalks, and saw-mill dust.” As one biographer wrote, Bell would “also explore ideas in energy conservation” and “solar heating...”
Photo credit: "Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago." CREDIT: Library of Congress, text by Patrick Smith, ThinkProgress.
4 Ways Climate Change is Messing with our Brains. Here's an excerpt from a story at Grist: "...But those brutal conditions also affect our mental health, changing how we think and act. Mental health professionals are paying attention to the link between climate change and emotional health — and health insurance companies are, too. Here are some of the impacts they’re concerned about. (Hat tip: CBS.)
- Disasters like floods, tornadoes, and drought have been found to trigger PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.
- Slight increases in heat or rainfall have been found to raise the risk of riots and civil wars, as well as crimes like rape and murder.
- Babies in the womb who are exposed to urban air pollutants from fossil fuels are more likely to develop anxiety or depression later in life.
- Many people now experience “climate anxiety” — feeling depressed and overwhelmed by you-know-what — and support groups have emerged to help them..."